European protection of consumer rights in Ukraine – the Parliament adopted the draft law in the first reading

Soon, Ukrainian consumers will receive the protection of their rights as it is done in Europe. The Parliament of Ukraine adopted in the first reading draft law No. 6134, developed by the Ministry of Economy together with the BRDO team.

After the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine was one of the first to develop legislation on the protection of consumer rights, but today there are critical inconsistencies between the Ukrainian and European consumer rights protection systems. The new draft law is designed to eliminate these inconsistencies and bring Ukrainian legislation closer to European legislation.

What changes does the bill propose?

1. Issues of consumer rights protection in the field of electronic commerce are regulated:

  • At the legislative level, the concepts of an electronic trading platform (marketplace), an electronic product comparison service (price aggregator) are defined and their responsibility for the availability of reliable information about sellers on the websites of the marketplace and price aggregator is established. Thus, the consumer becomes more protected in case of purchasing a product of inadequate quality on the Internet and will have guarantees for the return of his funds.
  • In addition, the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Rights Protection receives the authority to apply to Internet providers to block the website of those business entities that have not provided reliable information on the website about their name and location, which will make it impossible to carry out state supervision (control) measures in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine.

2. The obligation for sellers to create and maintain an exchange fund of goods is abolished. Until then, if the consumer received a product of inadequate quality that needs repair, the seller is obliged to provide the consumer with the same product from the exchange fund during the repair of such product. For this, entrepreneurs spent a lot of money on the purchase of such goods and on the maintenance of warehouses for their storage. Instead, the new draft law gives the consumer the right to replace the product with the same or similar one available at the business entity, if the repair of the product purchased by the consumer requires more than 14 calendar days. Thus, sellers do not need to have an exchange fund, and in the event of its creation, they will have a competitive advantage.

3. Public associations of consumers receive a legislative basis for participation in the protection of consumer rights and their involvement in the pre-trial resolution of consumer disputes. The practice of the European Union in the field of consumer rights protection shows that consumers are better protected when public consumer associations are involved in the process of their protection, which can conduct consultations for consumers and provide them with practical assistance.

4. The possibility of providing documents confirming warranty obligations in electronic form by sellers is being introduced. That is, consumers will not need to keep a bunch of paper warranty coupons, which will become available in an online format.

Thus, draft law 6134 provides for the creation of conditions for achieving mutual consistency between the consumer rights protection systems of Ukraine and the EU, ensuring transparent and fair competition between business entities, especially in the field of electronic commerce, and also provides consumers with new tools to protect their rights.

We are grateful to everyone involved in the development of the draft law and look forward to its quick adoption in the second reading.